Fri, 08 Mar 2019 11:34:12 +0000Géralde Vincent-BancroftThe best way to get quickly familiar to a language is through its sound and listening to the new language you’re learning will certainly help you study and comprehend it faster. But you should not forget that your primary objective is communication. So, you should be able to do so verbally as…
The best way to get quickly familiar to a language is through its sound and listening to the new language you’re learning will certainly help you study and comprehend it faster. But you should not forget that your primary objective is communication. So, you should be able to do so verbally as well. This is where the need of polishing your speaking ability takes precedence.
Speaking in a foreign language is not at all easy because you must be able to understand what others are saying, If not, even though you know the answer, you will be unable to say it. Hence the importance of practising your listening comprehension skills.
The other hurdle is that you should be able to remember the vocabulary you’ve learned quickly. You need to voice out your opinion fast during a conversation with a native speaker. Quite often they forget your degree of proficiency as their concern is mainly centred in the ideas and concepts you are expressing. At times, finding the right word can be tricky because of the added stress.
Stress plays an important role in preventing recollection of words when speaking in a foreign language.
A certain knowledge of grammar is necessary to participate in a conversation, if you want to be understood by your interlocutor.
You must train your diaphragm and your facial muscles to make unfamiliar sounds as every language has their own sound patterns.
Most importantly, you must master the art of conversation which is something even difficult in your mother tongue.
You should not be discouraged by these remarks but remember that your speaking skills will develop slower than your reading and listening skills, your accent won’t match the native speakers’, but there are ways to minimise it so that people can understand when you speak.
Mistakes are inevitable. You should swallow your pride, learn from them and carry on. If people correct you, don’t feel embarrassed, just take it as a learning opportunity and move on.
Mistakes are an important part of the learning process.
People will acknowledge your efforts in different ways. Most will be grateful that you’re trying your best at expressing yourself in their language. Some will show their impatience when interacting with you, they’ll show sign of relief when the conversation is over.Others will despise you for “destroying” their language. You can’t prevent it, but you can choose the way you will react. Certainly, don’t allow these experiences to thwart your attempt of speaking.
Remember the more you practice, the better you will be at speaking in your target language.
Learn the most common words and phrases as well as greetings. They will allow you to be conversational as you don’t need much to start interacting with people.
Most importantly, relax and keep smiling. Very few can resist a smile/
I will mention some useful techniques that you can use to practice speaking in your target language.
It’s the best way to practice speaking. You can always find somebody speaking the language you’re studying. There are websites specialising in language exchange where you can practice your target language with native speakers interested in practising your language. You can take turn practising each way. One of these sites is Italki
If you go to the country where the language you’re learning is spoken, take advantage and practice.
The most common excuse is this one:” When I speak with the locals, they insist on speaking my mother tongue.” If this is the case, you can explain to them that you need to practice their language, and if they insist, let them speak your language in a conversation, and just answer them back in their tongue. They will very soon understand and back you up in your language practice.
The other common reason for not practising your foreign language is shyness. Remember that nothing great happens when you stay in your comfort zone. Step out of it. Start speaking with that stranger sitting next to you in the park. You will quickly see that the world didn’t end, and most of all, you did enjoy the conversation. When you grab the opportunities to practice, the world becomes your tutor.
If you’re working with a language partner, a tutor or a coach, you can use role play to speak the language. It’s a perfect way of mimicking real life situations and this will force you to practice. You might become a customer at a restaurant ordering food, or someone making a hotel reservation, or asking for directions, the possibilities are endless.
Talking to yourself
This is another way to practice. Tell yourself what your plans are, what you intend to do, where you’re going to, who you are meeting, or what you’re buying. It allows you to exercise your diaphragm and facial muscles so that you can produce the correct sounds in the target language. It helps you identify where your weaknesses are: your lack of adequate vocabulary, or the use of the wrong grammar structures. It gets your brain used to thinking and instinctively producing sentences in your target language.
Reading aloud is a good way to exercise your diaphragm and your mouth muscles as well as getting used to produce sentences in your target language. On the other hand, you are improving your reading skills at the same time. When you read aloud you improve your brain’s ability to connect the language’s sound(grapheme) to the language’s letters (phonemes). Therefore your reading improves.
As you see, to speak a language is like putting together various pieces of a puzzle. All the pieces are equally important (listening, reading, writing and speaking) and the final product is what we call fluency.